I am not talking about dress labels here, but food labels instead. Various reports today of a breakthrough for the campaign against obesity are circulating and it is all down to the little red, amber and green indicators on the front of food packaging.
The government are encouraging food manufacturers to adopt a standardised approach to the way in which they ‘warn’ consumers of the health factor within their foods. On a simplistic level, the red is a clear warning, the amber is something to be mindful of, and the green gives the go-ahead…within reason! So food items like pizza will mainly be red, but those little plastic tubs of prepared fresh fruit are likely to be green.
I am not sure how confusing people find the current array of labelling lovelies that food manufacturers use. Some of them are in muted colours and give the nutritional info for one biscuit out of a packet of many (who eats just one biscuit?!) which can lull consumers into a false sense of security. Others are currently using a red, amber, green system – the traffic light method, and others do bugger all but the bare minimum.
Personally, I like the traffic light system as it is something we grow up with in this country. We are taught that it is okay to ‘go’ when things are green, and that we need to stop when we see red as it is the colour of danger – or nice shoes in my opinion!
This move towards consistent labelling is great. What really has annoyed me though is that it is a voluntary scheme. Why am I annoyed? Well, the voluntary aspect strikes me as a little political. If the government really wanted to enforce something, they could – it could be passed as a law. So if there is real concern over obesity, and those in power think that this labelling system will go some way towards halting the growth in obesity rates, why not make this method of labelling compulsory? Is it because giant manufacturers such as Coca Cola, Cadbury and United Biscuits (owners of McVities, Penguin, Twiglets, Jacobs, Carr’s, Mini Cheddars etc) have refused to participate…and banning their products would cause uproar? I don’t know; I am only a simple fat girl, but it does strike me as a little strange…another case of big business holding the government to ransom!
Anyway, all of the main supermarkets, along with PepsiCo, Mars and Nestlé amongst others, have agreed to use this system. Good for them! There are calls to name and shame those who don’t participate…but I don’t think that companies such as Cadburys feel much shame really. I read that Coca-Cola’s decision has surprised some food campaigners, given its recent high-profile campaign intended to reinforce its pledge that “we want to be part of the solution” to the growing global obesity epidemic. This is another issue for another day though…companies paying lip-service from a corporate social responsibility perspective. Kind of reminds of a drug dealer participating in an anti-drugs campaign and then selling little wraps to the attendees!
I read these articles today – in the Guardian and the Independent – after reading one yesterday in the Guardian about junk food manufacturers ‘bypassing’ advertising guidelines and marketing to children. According to the article, there are tough advertising laws regarding the broadcast of adverts during children’s programmes, but not during popular programmes such as The X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent…which are watched by a lot of bloody kids too! Food companies are also turning to Facebook, computer games and mobile phones to target children.
It makes me wonder how parents cope. We are very quick to pin the blame on parents when we see overweight children, but if society is bombarding these children at every opportunity, what hope do parents have? Children have pocket money…and I remember spending mine on crisps. In fact, I remember Walkers having little blue packet giveaways in their crisp packets…I struck gold, or blue, on many occasions and so my pocket money stretched as far as my ‘already bigger than the other kids’ clothes did! I actually think Walkers ballsed up as I ended up getting about eight packets one day and had only paid for the first one…I kept going back to the corner shop with little blue packets!
According to the Children’s Food Campaign, the TV programme most watched by four to fifteen year olds is Britain’s Got Talent, which airs from 8pm to 9pm, with more than 1 million child viewers. Next most watched by children are The X Factor and I’m a Celebrity. Commercials running during Britain’s Got Talent typically include ones for fizzy drinks and chocolate. Not so good if you are trying to help an overweight child.
Cartoon characters promoting sugary cereals, McDonalds et al sponsoring the Olympics, and sports starts promoting crisps…! A Coca-Cola spokesperson said, “Our sponsorship of sporting events highlights our commitment to making a positive difference in all the communities we serve. We care about people’s well-being and want to make a positive difference in their lives, both physically and emotionally. We also aspire to help people lead active healthy lifestyles through the beverage options we produce, the nutritional information we provide and our support of programs that encourage active, healthy living. We sponsor more than 280 physical activity and nutrition education programs in more than 115 countries. We are also the longest, continuous standing partner of one of the largest sports platforms in the world, the Olympic Games – proof of our commitment to using the power of our brands to encourage more people to become active through sport.” Now when I read that statement by the spokesperson, I coughed and said ‘bullshit’ at the same time, in one of those moves to show my thoughts but not voice them too loudly!
I don’t know what the answer is to help us fatties. It seems that despite our best efforts, at times, we just get led astray. It isn’t surprising really. On my first foray in four years to Asda, the first food item I saw was hundreds of packets of chocolate brownies stacked up by the entrance and the store was filled with the smell of baking bread. The high value products are placed at eye-level (tend to be junk products too with a high profit margin) and the offers also seemed to be focused on processed crap. It seems that willpower needs to be far stronger than the pull and lure of these products…but when giants like Cadburys spend millions finding out what makes us tick, is it any wonder that we struggle? I reckon I will stick to sending my other half into Asda for a while; he sticks to the shopping list and there is far less temptation. I will browse the local fruit and veg shop instead!
So then, today’s usuals…
I got up early – a full thirty minutes before the alarm – and managed to fit in two treadmill sessions before starting work on the project for my other half. I then worked for a while, grabbed breakfast, eventually finished my workouts and then we headed off to see the horses and to the shops. The horses were interesting today, well – they weren’t really doing much of anything other than eating and swishing off flies – but the snake I saw slithering off into the bushes was interesting! I have an awful habit of winding my other half up about snakes, as he hates them…I even convinced him that one of our neighbours kept snakes and that one had got loose…he wouldn’t go out into the back garden for a ciggy for days. Yesterday, I made a hissing sound whilst he bent down next to the car at the stables, but today there really was a snake in that same exact spot! And yes, I have heard about the boy who cried wolf! My other half had got out of the car and was climbing the gate to the yard, whilst I was in the car about to drive in. I had my window open and heard a rustling next to me, and on the huge big (just below window level!) tree stump next to me, was the snake in question…retreating into the undergrowth less than half a metre from me. Of course, my other half didn’t believe me at first, but I was pretty freaked out! We have seen dead adders at the yard, and thought that maybe a bird of prey had dropped them…but it appears that our nice warm muckheap was used as a hibernation ground over winter and by removing it, we have disturbed them. I need to get some steel-lined wellies or something as I have now become a wuss! Once that excitement was over, we headed to Asda and then home for the day. I have had a fairly sedate afternoon and will be pretty much having a fairly sedate evening. Oh, I also had lectures about food sustainability today…not sure about this little course…will give you my verdict once I have given it a bit more time to grown on me.
Breakfast: Banana and two Alpen light bars (1 x HEB).
Today’s food was lovely – especially lunch. The veggie dish I cooked last night is typically eaten cold, so I kept it that way for lunch and used the Moroccan couscous by Ainsley (1.5 syns per sachet) to go with it…it was so nice! Dinner was designed to use up some freezer and fridge food – so the sweet potato was chopped and sprinkled with Cajun seasoning and thrown in the Actifry, the sausages were oven cooked, as was the tomato and the onion, and the coleslaw was just a bag of mix from Asda with lemon juice, cracked black pepper and mayo. My pizza crispbreads were pretty good too…one of the best ways of eating crispbreads!
P.S. I only ate three packets of French Fries last night…progress for me!
Exercise: 2 x 15 minute plus 3 x 10 minute treadmill sessions, 1 x 5 minute boxing session and 1 x 10 minute BodyPump session.
Today was my first ‘standing up’ boxing session…I used to shadow box whilst seated so that I could still exercise without getting back pain. It was bloody hard though and the tiny session had sweat dripping off the end of my nose! I guess holding up nearly 30st (yippee…I can no long say 30st+) and boxing is tough…I wanted to sit down at 1:30 but kept going for the other 3:30! You don’t have to be able to stand up in order to exercise if you find it painful or very difficult – there are so many exercises which still raise your heartrate enough whilst seated…and it all counts towards the numbers on the scales.
Thank you for reading – I hope this weeks weight losses are going well for my fellow ‘losers’,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx